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Smart Technology and Automatization

Final presentations of the MSc Operations Management

The project team at Max Holder GmbH (f. l.): David Ritzer, Sarah Ley, Michael Fitz, Felix Brugger, Tim Henning, Madita Horstmann, Jana Walter


The project team of SCHUMAG AG (from left and last row to front row): Chris Puclin, Markus Käppeler, Lars Muylkens, Mona Schäle, Larissa Burkhardt, Gabriel Gille, Halla Al-Shahmani, Pascal Schmidt

The project team at August Faller GmbH & Co. KG

The project team at Reiser AG developed this concept in a workshop.

The project team at Werk150 (f. l.): Martin Angresius, Linda Punkhardt, Niklas Brennenstuhl, Julia Efinger, Lorenz Williges, Johann Scharf, Lara Hornung, Wilhelm Halsner

[Translate to English:] Projektteam im Werk150 - Darstellung des fortgeschrittenen physischen Lagers gegenüber dem Digitalen Zwilling

City logistics, smart innovation and human-robot collaborations - Students in the MSc Operations Management programme presented the results of their research projects on 28 January. In the previous months, they had implemented these projects under real conditions in various companies. In teams, the students developed creative concepts, which they presented to company management in an online event.

Outsourcing ideas for cab assembly at Max Holder GmbH 

A seven-person project team developed an outsourcing concept for the multi-variant cab assembly for Holder, a manufacturer of municipal vehicles. This outstanding project examined the general economic efficiency of partial outsourcing as an example. In close cooperation with the assembly employees, the project team developed an outsourcing concept that reduces effort and saves time. The students investigated the relocation of partial volumes through to complete cabins and coordinated the concept with a supplier. The team presented the decision template to management based on the quantitative and qualitative points considered.

Smart innovation at Fraunhofer IAO

Even today, searching for tomorrow's trends no longer requires time-consuming data research. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the search for trends is only the beginning of a larger innovation process. Working with the Fraunhofer IAO, the nine-member project team examined sub-areas of the innovation process for use in AI. To this end, the students defined the term "smart innovation." They interviewed experts and conducted company and student surveys to better address existing AI challenges. Based on these results, they presented potential applications for AI. Lastly, they recommended a course of action for business, politics and science to boost smart innovation in the future.

SCHUMAG AG project

The eight students in this project team developed a concept to optimize inventory levels on the SCHUMAG AG shop floor and to ensure that customer requirements are met on time and as needed. SCHUMAG AG is a German company based in Aachen that specializes in the production of precision parts.

The graduates first analysed the current situation at SCHUMAG AG and identified various fields of action. These potential areas for improvement were then incorporated into an overall concept for sustainably securing production data quality. From the results, the students created a rollout plan, which they presented to SCHUMAG AG as a recommendation.

Automation using human-robot collaboration at August Faller GmbH & Co. KG

Six students evaluated human-robot collaboration (HRC) systems at August Faller GmbH & Co. KG (Faller Packaging). In such systems, humans and robots operate in the same workspace. The students analysed and visualized some relevant production processes on site, evaluating them with regard to their automation potential with HRC. The team presented three implementation scenarios to the management. After selecting a scenario, the students planned its implementation in detail with the help of a plan they drew up themselves. In addition, the team designed a guideline for evaluating future HRC system deployments for Faller Packaging.

Welding with collaborative robots at Reiser AG

In cooperation with the production service provider Reiser AG Maschinenbau, the seven-member project team developed various solutions for automating a circular welding process using a collaborative robot and a commercially available manual welding device. The project looked at computer-aided design of component fixtures and grippers, prepared a cost comparison and amortization calculation, and focused on the planning and design of the welding workstation. The project team then handed over the project results and recommendations to Reiser AG. Their ideas for how medium-sized companies can efficiently automate circular welding with the help of a robot and a commercially available manual welding device will be published in the journal for scientific factory operations, ZWF.

Producing platform chemical with bio-refineries

Together with the Fraunhofer IGB in Stuttgart, the project group continued a research project dealing with the development of a bio-based production process for the manufacture of platform chemicals. This is an important contribution to decarbonization in the chemicals industry.

First, the project group determined all energy and material flows from the raw material to the platform chemicals and visualized them in a process flow diagram.

The team then went on to calculate and analyse the primary energy requirements and CO2 emissions in order to derive possibilities for reducing the energy demand and further decarbonisation. The students incorporated the most promising approaches into a target process and compared the results with competing manufacturing processes.

In addition, the project group investigated the state of the art for separating and purifying various platform chemicals and compiled the results in a review paper.

Delivering for pakadoo and the towns of Ettlingen and Reutlingen

Working with the start-up pakadoo GmbH, the students developed a concept for optimizing parcel delivery in city centres. The main focus was on the last mile in the towns of Reutlingen and Ettlingen. The project sought to enable suppliers to offer recipients additional services and to integrate local retailers into the concept. To do this, the project team used surveys to determine the "pain points" of the customers and local retailers and, with that data, developed creative solutions. The concept developed includes a complete business model that can be tested for profitability using a calculation model.

Plan for an intelligent warehouse at Werk150

To further optimize smart production at Werk150, the factory on campus, nine students designed an intelligent warehouse both physically and digitally. To illustrate various possible applications for medium-sized companies, the students implemented various manual and automated processes and partially integrated the use of artificial intelligence. For this, the team first recorded the current state of the warehouse inventory and coordinated the concept designs with the stakeholders and the supervising professor, Vera Hummel. The level of detail increased over the course of the project to concrete process flows. In order to secure the diverse ideas, the team created a digital twin in Dassault Systèmes 3D Experience Platform.